Battle of the Alte Veste
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The Battle of the Alte Veste was a significant battle of the Thirty Years' War.
|Battle of Alte Veste|
|Part of the Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years' War|
Alte Veste in 1705, engraving by J. Böner
Holy Roman Empire|
|Kingdom of Sweden|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Albrecht von Wallenstein||
Lennart Torstensson (POW)
15,419 cavalry in 39 regiments and 263+ companies
|Casualties and losses|
1,400 killed or wounded
In the late summer of 1632 the army of Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus met Albrecht von Wallenstein near Nürnberg. The successes of Gustavus Adolphus over General Tilly forced Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II to recall Albrecht von Wallenstein into military service from retirement. Wallenstein was unmatched in his ability to raise troops, and within a few weeks he took to the field with a fresh army.
The Imperial Army's ranks swelled as Wallenstein moved to stop the Swedes' advance at Nuremberg. Repeatedly, Gustav Adolf formed for battle and challenged Wallenstein to come out of his fortified camp, but was refused. As the supply situation continued to worsen, the impetuous King grew desperate.
He attacked the Imperial camp at the Alte Veste (or "Old Fortress")—a derelict castle situated atop a wooded hill. Its ownership would then allow the Swedish guns to dominate the Imperial camp. The Imperials were prepared with trenches and an abatis that stymied the Swedish advance. When the vaunted brigades faltered, much of the cavalry was sent in dismounted. Wallenstein saw an opportunity to strike a blow and sallied his cavalry and cut down many of the exhausted troops. Only the final introduction of the Swedish cavalry reserve was able to avert a complete disaster.
The Swedes had been defeated. The Commander of the Swedish artillery, Lennart Torstenson, was taken prisoner and locked up for nearly a year at Ingolstadt. Gustav Adolf received reinforcements in early September, and once again unsuccessfully attempted to break the siege at the Battle of Fürth on 3 September (n.s.). Several weeks later, lack of supplies led Wallenstein to break camp and move north, allowing the Swedish forces out of Nuremburg. The two armies met again the following six weeks later at the disastrous Battle of Lützen, in which the Catholics were defeated, but Sweden lost Gustavus Adolphus in a pyrrhic victory.